It’s the season for ticks! Learn how to identify, prevent and treat tick bites.
Preventing Tick Bites
Use DEET 20-30% when going outside. For children make sure you only apply this ONCE a day (in contrast to sunscreen, which should be applied often). Do not apply DEET to children’s hands as they may put their hands in their mouths.
Applying DEET to children under 2 months old is not recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). For children older than 2 mos you can use a DEET concentration up to 30%
Consider applying DEET to your shoes and clothes as the DEET will persist longer than if it is just used on your skin.
Take a shower after hikes or working in the yard. this is a perfect opportunity to check for ticks. Make sure you check in your groin, armpits as ticks are easily missed in these areas.
For children, parents should look under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist, and especially on their scalp.
There are several types of ticks and identifying them can provide helpful information for your healthcare provider . The following chart will help you identify the different types of ticks that you may come across in our area. [source]
Remove ticks as soon as you find them. The longer the tick is attached, the higher the risk you will develop a tick-related illness.
Using fine tipped forceps (or a tweezer), pinch where the head of the tick enters the skin, and pull with a gentle, steady traction. Sometimes, tick parts may detach prematurely and may still be embedded in the skin. If this happens don’t be concerned.
Your body will force these out over time. Some people develop a mild redness around the site of the bite which is also normal but if the redness increases in size of if there are any concerns about this I would bring this in to your primary care provider.
After a Tick Bite, What Do I Watch For?
Any rash that develops after a tick bite should be evaluated by your health care provider. Also seek medical attention if you develop flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, muscle aches), joint pain fatigue or palpitations.
About Eugene Leung, MD
Dr. Leung is a physician at WakeMed Primary & Urgent Care — Forestville Crossing.